College Center for Advising Services

Primary Writing Requirement

Entering students must establish competence in writing clear argumentative essays at the college level. The procedure by which competence is established is determined by the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program in consultation with the College Writing Committee.

Typically, students fulfill the Primary Writing Requirement by completing “Reasoning and Writing in the College” (WRT 105 or WRT 105E) with a grade of “C” or better.  (Students accepted into the dual degree program between the Eastman School of Music and The College satisfy this requirement by completing either WRT 105/105E or a FWS course at Eastman. Students admitted to the College through the English for Academic Purposes Program (EAPP) fulfill the requirement by earning a grade of “C” or better in WRT 103, EAAP Critical Reading, Reasoning, and Writing, and WRT 104, EAPP Research, Reading, and Writing.) To be prepared for the upper-level writing requirement in the major, students are expected to satisfy the Primary Writing Requirement by the end of the first year of study. Transfer students are expected to complete the Primary Writing Requirement by the end of their first semester. 

Students who believe that they are already proficient college writers may petition to satisfy the Primary Writing Requirement by taking a University of Rochester course other than WRT 105. To petition, students submit a substitution petition (available at A student whose petition is accepted can satisfy the writing requirement by achieving a “B” or above in a course with a significant writing component, which usually includes several short papers throughout the semester, a substantial final paper, and revision based on instructor feedback. The course must be approved by the Writing Program, and getting approval before taking the course is recommended.

Students may petition only once, are expected to do so during the first semester of matriculation, and may not do so after already attempting to complete WRT 105 or WRT 105E.

Students who have not completed the primary writing requirement or demonstrated how they plan to complete the requirement to the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program by the fall semester of their sophomore year will have a registration hold placed on their student account that will prevent them from registering for the spring semester.

Transfer course policy:

Transfer students who wish to use a writing course they have completed elsewhere to satisfy Rochester’s Primary Writing Requirement need to complete and submit a transfer petition (available at to the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program.

Repeat course policy for WRT 105 and 105E:

The “repeated course” policy of the faculty stipulates that the second grade earned (which may or may not be higher than the first) is calculated into the grade point average and the first grade (and credit, if any) is removed from the calculation of the grade point average. However, an exception is available to students who passed WRT 105/105E the first time but need to repeat it in order to earn a grade of C or better. These students may choose to keep the credit from the first course and earn an additional four credits when they repeat the course. The grades from both courses are included in the grade point average. (See Repeating Courses)

Students who want the special option must submit the form designed for this purpose to the Center for Advising Services by the drop/add deadline of the semester in which they repeat the course.

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